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    • manganime
    • By manganime 15th Apr 18, 6:16 PM
    • 2Posts
    • 0Thanks
    manganime
    Financial Ombudsman vs Small Claims Court
    • #1
    • 15th Apr 18, 6:16 PM
    Financial Ombudsman vs Small Claims Court 15th Apr 18 at 6:16 PM
    Hey all,

    I am currently in a dispute with a company and unfortunately feels like I am not getting anywhere complaining directly to them. My next option is to either get in touch with the Financial Ombudsman or take them to Small Claims Court. I know the Ombudsman offer a free service and are supposed to be impartial, and the article on the website regarding Small Claims Court suggests "you have nothing to lose by going to the Ombudsman - it's free, so even if the Ombudsman rules against you, you won't be any worse off than if you hadn't complained."

    However, from past experiences and experiences of family and friends, I have found Ombudsman to not be very helpful. So say suppose the Ombudsman does rule against me, would it not dent my case should I still want to take the company to court?

    Any advice would be much appreciated

    Many Thanks
Page 1
    • BorisThomson
    • By BorisThomson 15th Apr 18, 6:28 PM
    • 1,586 Posts
    • 3,431 Thanks
    BorisThomson
    • #2
    • 15th Apr 18, 6:28 PM
    • #2
    • 15th Apr 18, 6:28 PM
    The FOS are generous towards consumers in their decisions, if someone has found them unhelpful it's quite possible they did not have a valid complaint.

    An FOS decision is not binding in a court, but would be persuasive evidence for the defence.

    What is your complaint?
    • Keep pedalling
    • By Keep pedalling 15th Apr 18, 6:32 PM
    • 5,289 Posts
    • 5,911 Thanks
    Keep pedalling
    • #3
    • 15th Apr 18, 6:32 PM
    • #3
    • 15th Apr 18, 6:32 PM
    If this relates to a regulated financial service then you should be going down the FOS route. If they make a final ruling in favour of the company them you have reached the end of the road.
    • dacouch
    • By dacouch 15th Apr 18, 6:35 PM
    • 20,551 Posts
    • 12,730 Thanks
    dacouch
    • #4
    • 15th Apr 18, 6:35 PM
    • #4
    • 15th Apr 18, 6:35 PM
    If this relates to a regulated financial service then you should be going down the FOS route. If they make a final ruling in favour of the company them you have reached the end of the road.
    Originally posted by Keep pedalling
    You can still take a case to the court if the Foster rules against you
    • unholyangel
    • By unholyangel 15th Apr 18, 6:40 PM
    • 12,630 Posts
    • 9,945 Thanks
    unholyangel
    • #5
    • 15th Apr 18, 6:40 PM
    • #5
    • 15th Apr 18, 6:40 PM
    The ombudsman is like any other service tbh - frontline staff may not give the right answer but you can appeal their decision at which point an actual ombudsman should review it and then you tend to get a more accurate resolution.

    Of course the fact your friends and family had no luck with them may indicate your friends and family are unreasonable in their expectations or that they aren't setting out their argument as well as they could.

    But the big thing about the ombudsman is that there is no risk - unlike small claims.
    Money doesn't solve poverty.....it creates it.
    • Keep pedalling
    • By Keep pedalling 15th Apr 18, 6:51 PM
    • 5,289 Posts
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    Keep pedalling
    • #6
    • 15th Apr 18, 6:51 PM
    • #6
    • 15th Apr 18, 6:51 PM
    You can still take a case to the court if the Foster rules against you
    Originally posted by dacouch
    True, but a judicial review will generally focus on the way in which an ombudsman has arrived at a decision, not on the individual facts and merits of the dispute itself, which might make. It very difficult to win and I am not even sure that sort of review can be done though the small claims court.

    http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/faq/businesses/answers/rules_a11.html
    • manganime
    • By manganime 15th Apr 18, 7:09 PM
    • 2 Posts
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    manganime
    • #7
    • 15th Apr 18, 7:09 PM
    • #7
    • 15th Apr 18, 7:09 PM
    Thank you for the response thus far. From past personal experiences, I have been unsatisfied with the manner FOS have handled valid complaints, and I found others have had similar experiences and that they tend to be a bit bias and favour the institution instead. Also, their rating on UK Trustpilot seems to be highly negative -- 1 out of 5 stars from 131 reviews.
    But it would sound as if some of you have had positive experiences with them?

    I have valid complaint against a company but I need to escalate it to the next level. I would have gone down the FOS route by now, but due to past experiences I am concerned the FOS could rule against me which could lever my case to the opposition should I still need to go to court despite the article on this website suggesting I have nothing to lose by using FOS.
    I also seem to recall reading somewhere that FOS ruling is legally binding?
    Last edited by manganime; 15-04-2018 at 7:14 PM.
    • unholyangel
    • By unholyangel 15th Apr 18, 7:14 PM
    • 12,630 Posts
    • 9,945 Thanks
    unholyangel
    • #8
    • 15th Apr 18, 7:14 PM
    • #8
    • 15th Apr 18, 7:14 PM
    True, but a judicial review will generally focus on the way in which an ombudsman has arrived at a decision, not on the individual facts and merits of the dispute itself, which might make. It very difficult to win and I am not even sure that sort of review can be done though the small claims court.

    http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/faq/businesses/answers/rules_a11.html
    Originally posted by Keep pedalling
    Thats for the business, not for the consumers.

    A customer is entirely free to go to court even if FOS rule against them.

    http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/publications/consumer-leaflet.htm

    We won't usually look into a problem that a court has already looked into. And if you agree with our ombudsman's final decision, a court won't look into the same issues. This is because our final decisions are legally "binding".

    If you disagree with the ombudsman's final decision, you can still take your complaint to court. Because the courts take a different approach to complaints, their answer might be different to ours.
    Last edited by unholyangel; 15-04-2018 at 7:16 PM.
    Money doesn't solve poverty.....it creates it.
    • steampowered
    • By steampowered 15th Apr 18, 7:35 PM
    • 2,749 Posts
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    steampowered
    • #9
    • 15th Apr 18, 7:35 PM
    • #9
    • 15th Apr 18, 7:35 PM
    If you have a straightforward legal claim (e.g. breach of contract), I would go straight to small claims.

    The small claims process is easy, quick and very powerful.

    The FOS process takes a long time. You need to wait 8 weeks for the company to look at your complaint to even start the process.

    I've also find the results people get through the FOS to be a bit random - my personal experience is that the FOS is less reliable than the courts.

    However I would go to the FOS if (1) the company you have an issue with is regulated by the FOS, (2) your claim is complicated (court is less friendly to litigants in person for complex cases) or (3) your claim is not really 'legal' (e.g. a complaint about poor customer service).
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